MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CBS News) — The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The vaccine is the third to be approved for use in the United States, and the first that requires only one shot.
The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously to approve the vaccine by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, on Friday. The committee provides expert advice to the FDA but does not have final say on approval.READ MORE: COVID In MN: Gov. Walz Says 'Roll Up Your Sleeves, MN' Vaccine Campaign Now Focusing On Manufacturing Workers
Gov. Tim Walz praised the development Saturday evening, and said the one-dose vaccine will be a “game-changer.”
“This vaccine is safe and highly effective at preventing severe illness and death. Because it requires only one dose, it will also help us quickly provide immunity to even more Minnesotans who have been waiting so long for protection against COVID-19,” he said. “We need broad community protection before we are able to rein in COVID-19 and get back to the normal, enjoyable parts of life we all have missed. This shot will help get us there. We look forward to welcoming this third highly effective vaccine to Minnesota and we’re prepared to get it into arms of Minnesotans as quickly as possible.”
Minnesota is expected to announce the allocation of the new vaccine as soon as the Centers for Disease Control releases their recommendations for its use.READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 2,299 New Cases, 6 Deaths; Cumulative Fatalities Near 7,000
“This vaccine has gone through a rigorous regulatory review process and a large, diverse clinical trial, and it has been shown to be safe and highly effective at every stage,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.
The new vaccine will not immediately add a significant boost to America’s vaccine availability. Johnson & Johnson announced earlier this week it expected under 4 million doses would be ready to ship after the emergency use authorization — six million less than it originally committed to having ready by the end of February.
“There will be limited supply of Janssen vaccine in the short term,” the draft CDC document says. “Weekly allocations may vary based on availability for the first few weeks.”MORE NEWS: As Hospitalizations And ICU Numbers Climb, Some Hospitals Declare 3rd COVID Surge
Nearly 70 million vaccine doses had been administered across the country as of Thursday. Doses are split almost evenly between the two already approved for use in the U.S.: Pfizer’s vaccine at 36 million, and Moderna’s at 34 million, according to CDC data.